Russian warships escorted through the English Channel tonight- for the third time in six months

Christopher Hope
One of the Russian warships being escorted by Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland - MoD/MoD

Russian warships are being escorted through the English Channel by the Royal Navy for the third time in six months.

Navy frigate HMS Sutherland is today escorting two Russian warships which are expected to sail through the English Channel overnight tonight.

The Type 23 frigate located the two Russian ships in the early hours of Friday morning as they sailed through the North Sea towards the Dover Straits.

The Steregushchiy-class corvettes, Soobrazitelny and Boiky, were joined later in the afternoon by a Russian support tanker and an ocean-going tug.

HMS Sutherland will continue to monitor the movements of the ships as they pass close to UK territorial waters today.

Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, said: “HMS Sutherland is carefully marking these Russian ships as they pass close to UK waters.

“The Royal Navy maintains a vigilant watch and is always ready to keep Britain safe.

“Royal Navy sailors on the Plymouth-based frigate keep watch on every movement of the ships, using state-of-the-art radars to track the course and speed of the ships as they pass close to the UK.

Commander Andrew Canale, the Commanding Officer of HMS Sutherland, said: “As one of the Royal Navy’s high readiness units, HMS Sutherland is required to escort warships that approach the UK and this task is considered routine business for us.

“It is vitally important the Royal Navy demonstrates its presence and commitment to the integrity of UK territorial waters as we work around the clock to secure the seas of our island nation.”

HMS St Albans (foreground), seen here with the Russian Warships Petr Velikiy (centre) and the Admiral Kuznetsov (background) Credit: Dave Jenkins/Dave Jenkins

In January Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and a fleet of ships is being escorted past the white cliffs of Dover as they sail home after a bombing campaign in Syria.

A squadron of Royal Navy and RAF Typhoon warplanes were deployed to monitor the ageing Soviet-era vessel accompanied by the nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky and support ships from the air.

In October last year security concerns were raised when the Admiral Kuznetzov steamed through the Channel on its way to support Russian forces off the coast of Syria.

The aircraft carrier crossed British waters on its journey and was escorted through the Channel by two Royal Navy vessels.

The Ministry of Defence have estimated the cost of monitoring the vessel at £1.4million.

Sir Michael Fallon Credit: SAFIN HAMED/AFP or licensors 

 

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